Even a Heart
by misscam

Disclaimer: Not my characters, just my words.

Author's Note: Written for the prompt: "Hi, can you experiment on the consequences of sharing a heart?" Set after 3x20, but not real mentions of anything after.

II

Snow and Charming. Ever since meeting, they've always felt close, only made stronger by sharing everything.

Even a heart.

II

Charming wakes from a sharp jolt of pain to his heart, making him bolt upright and clutch his chest. It hurts. It hurts so much and he doesn't even know why. He can't remember a nightmare, and why would he...

Snow is not in bed with him, he realizes, instinctively reaching for her and not finding her there.

The pain is still there, less sharp, and he realizes why when he gets up and sees the silhouette of Snow, standing above Neal's crib and looking down. He doesn't need to see her expression to know how she feels. He can feel it himself.

Gently, he embraces her from behind, and she leans backwards into it. Neal is sleeping, he can see, looking peaceful and happy.

"I wanted this for Emma," she says, her voice pained.

"I know," he says quietly. He can feel what he now knows is her pain, making her heart – and his too, now that they share one – ache. "I wanted this for her too."

He thinks of their nursery, filled with all the toys they could find and meant to be filled with years of happy memories. They were going to raise her and love her, and be the best parents they could.

They can still be the best parents they can, but they will never get to raise her. That is lost forever, and they will always feel the loss of it, he knows.

He presses a kiss against Snow's temple, and feels her exhale.

"I'm sorry," she murmurs. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"Don't be sorry," he says, turning her around in his embrace. He smiles gently at her, noticing the dark circles under her eyes and the faint traces of dried tears. "I felt your pain, Snow."

"What?" she asks, giving him a slightly confused look.

"I felt a sharp pain to my heart," he says, and her eyes widen. "That is what you felt when you were watching Neal and thinking about what you had lost with Emma, isn't it?"

She nods, looking at him with luminous green eyes that seem to shine with tears. "Yes."

He caresses her cheek tenderly, smiling as reassuringly as he can manage. "I felt it."

"How?" she asks, then answers her own question. "My heart."

He nods. "I've started... becoming aware of how you feel sometimes, if you're feeling it strongly."

"Me too," she says, biting her lip.

"I'm glad," he says, and she looks up. "We'll do this like we do everything, Snow. Together. All of it. Dealing with the pain too."

She nods slowly, and he puts his hand over her heart. He can feel the faint beat of her heart, in sync with his own, and steadying slowly. She is drawing comfort from him, he knows, as he does from her.

"I love you," he says softly.

"I love you too," she says, tip-toeing to meet his kiss. He cradles her head in his hands, kissing her tenderly and lovingly until he is certain she feels nothing but loved.

"Come back to bed," he whispers, and she sighs softly into the kiss, then nods faintly.

II

Love. He's always felt loved by Snow, ever since the day he took an arrow to the shoulder and she regained her memories and looked at him as if he was the sun. Always love, in her eyes, her touches, her kiss, her fingers intertwined in his.

But now he feels it as she feels it too. She loves him. She loves him so much, so strongly, and feeling it is as humbling as it is overwhelming.

She can feel his love for her too, he knows, her kiss becoming fierce and possessive. Her skin is warm and smooth against his roaming hands, her body soft and welcoming against his. He loves her. She loves him. Love. So much love.

"Love you," she whispers into the kiss, and he pulls back slightly to see her gaze lovingly up at him.

"Snow..." he says, her name always a caress, a statement of love.

"Charming," she says, then again in a soundless gasp as he slides into her in a slow stroke. He keeps still for a moment, simply enjoying the sensation of being joined, being sheathed in her, being hers as she is his, until she pulls him down for an impatient kiss, parting his lips and brushing her tongue against his to egg him on.

He moves then, slow thrusts that she meets eagerly, taking his time touching her while she kisses him, enjoying a slow rise of pleasure that seems to claim more and more of him. Every sensation becomes pleasure, becomes her, until he is aware of nothing else.

"Charming," she gasps, voice thick with want, and he isn't even sure if it's his desire or hers that he is feeling most strongly, just that it's mounting with every thrust. She arches into him, trying to draw him harder and deeper inside her. She wants him, and he can feel it, and he wants her, and she can feel it, making it stronger and stronger, a torrent of love and lust pulling them both in.

"Love you," he manages to gasp, pressing his forehead against hers as he feels himself so close, so very close. "Love you, love you, love you... Snow..."

"I know," she pants, and he feels the certainty in her, the certainty of how much he loves her, stronger than diamonds. "I know, I know, I know."

Yes, he thinks, and then doesn't think much at all.

II

Snow loves her daughter very much. Oh, he's always known that, but he's beginning to feel it too, an always present emotion that sometimes seem to burst up as well. Snow loves fiercely, almost possessively, just as strongly as he does but slightly differently, colored by the losses she has suffered.

She loves Neal too, of course, just as much, but he can tell the difference. There is always a sense of bittersweetness whenever Snow is focused on Emma, and a sense of fear when she is focused on Neal, along with the fierce love she feels for both her children.

He knows Snow is feeling his love for Emma too, given the smiles she directs at him sometimes when he is simply watching his daughter and marveling at the woman she has become.

They love Emma.

Which is why he is not entirely surprised when he feels a strong burst of love at lunch one day, even if he is by himself. Emma and Snow are taking Neal shopping for toys, he knows, so Snow must be looking at their daughter right now, and loving her.

He smiles faintly, then feels desperation, fear, determination, all jumbled together but so strong it hurts. Something is wrong, very wrong, and he stands up in alarm, taking hurried steps towards the door before...

His heart stops.

Literally.

II

"I'm going to kill you," Emma says, and Charming blinks against sharp lights. Confused, her tries to focus his vision. He was at Granny's, and...

"Snow!" he hisses, and his daughter appears in his field of vision, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. Her eyes are bloodshot and red, and she's clearly been crying.

"Mom's alive," she says, and he exhales in relief. "She... She took a bullet for me."

"What," he says, but not in disbelief. Oh no. He believes that Snow would do that for her daughter. He doesn't doubt it for a second.

Emma looks guilty, he notices, and he takes her hand without thinking, squeezing it reassuringly. He's in hospital, he realizes as he looks around, and in the bed next to him, Snow is looking pale, but the steady rhythm of her heart monitor tells him she's alive.

Snow.

"I managed to heal her," Emma says, and he smiles at her, feeling a strong sense of pride. His daughter. His amazing daughter. "But... I think her heart stopped for a moment."

Oh, he thinks. Her heart stopped. Snow's heart stopped. He has her heart. Oh.

"Then they called me from Granny's to tell me you had just collapsed," Emma goes on, and she sounds downright angry now. "Your heart just stopped."

"Shared heart," he manages to say, and Emma glares at him. "Sorry."

"I am not losing you," she says angrily, hotly. "I can't lose you. I can't lose either of you and it seems like you two are now a fucking package deal so don't. do. this. to. me."

"Sorry," he says, awed by the love he can sense beneath her anger. "Shouldn't you be giving this speech to your mother?"

"I will," she says. "But I know you would do the same, so you're getting it too."

She has him there, he has to admit. Clumsily, he begins freeing himself from all the equipment he's hooked up to. Emma doesn't protest, probably knowing it's quite pointless. Instead, she offers him a steadying arm as he hobbles over to Snow's bed.

Her lashes are dark against her skin, her lips slightly parted as she breathes slowly and steadily. She's alive, but he still lowers his hand to her chest and feels her heartbeat echo against his palm.

"Whale is keeping her overnight for observation," Emma says. "You too. I'll watch Neal tonight. If either of you as much as think about not staying here, I am handcuffing you both to your beds."

"Not sure that will work on a bandit or a sheriff," he jokes, and Emma gives him another pointed look. "What happened?"

"Idiot drunks," Emma mutters darkly. "They were harassing customers at the Rabbit Hole as we walked past and I tried to calm things down when one of them pulled a gun on me. Mom jumped him."

"Sounds like your mother," he says fondly.

"Yeah," Emma says thickly, and he doesn't need a shared heart with her to know that she loves Snow too. He can hear it in her voice. Gently, he pulls her against him, and she rests her head on his shoulder.

When Snow opens her bright green eyes and sees them like this, he can feel her love for them both so sharply it's almost painful.

II

It takes Emma's threat of handcuffs for Snow to agree to stay overnight at the hospital, a battle of stubborn wills that he chuckles fondly at and gets pointed looks for. But eventually Emma wins out, and it's agreed that he and Snow will spend the night at the hospital and Emma will watch her baby brother and come by with him in the morning.

Whale stops by to give a stern warning about getting shot while sharing a heart. Apparently sharing a heart is a medical impossibility with unknown health consequences, as if they weren't already aware.

Well. A few known consequences now, at least.

After Whale has finally left, shaking his head as he goes, Charming crawls into Snow's bed (probably against medical advice, but screw medical advice when it comes to being with his wife) and she curls up against him, resting her head on his chest.

"Sorry," she whispers, lacing her fingers in his.

"For what?" he murmurs, pressing a kiss to their intertwined hands. "You protected our daughter."

She breathes. "I didn't even think about the consequences. I just... I can't lose her again."

"I know," he says softly, reassuringly. "It's okay. She's safe, and I'm fine. You're not losing either of us."

She presses a kiss to his chest, above his heart. "I didn't think about the consequences of sharing a heart with you either. I just couldn't lose you."

"And you didn't," he reassures her, making her look up at him. "Snow. When I gave up my heart, I expected to die. I was ready to die, for you, for our baby. I would happily make that sacrifice again. But you..."

He smiles at her lovingly. "You, my stubborn, loving bandit, gave me half your heart. I'm alive because of you. Every day with you, with our kids, is a gift you gave me."

"I love you," she says fiercely, tilting her head up and kissing him. Even if the kiss is hard, almost demanding, her lips are so very soft against his.

"I know," he says as she pulls back slightly, feeling just how much she loves him. "Whatever consequences sharing a heart has, we'll deal with them together."

"Together," she agrees, kissing him again, as their heart monitors beep on steadily, in sync and together. One heart beating for two, with a few known consequences and perhaps a few unknown ones still to be discovered – together. Of course. Always together, Snow and Charming, sharing everything.

Even a heart.

II

FIN